Indica and Sativa are the two main strains of cannabis.
Sativa plants are recognizable by their thinner leaves. They have a longer flowering cycle and are very tall. They can grow up to 25 feet in height, though most plants remain under 12 feet.
Indica plants have distinctly fat leaves. Their flowering cycles are shorter, as are their plants; these plants typically grow under 6 feet in height.
Both Sativa and Indica plants manifest in the form of many strains, each with unique terpene and cannabinoid profiles. That means you can find a strain of either to help with a variety of benefits ranging from Alzheimer’s to insomnia to productivity.
Inside both Indica and Sativa is THC which is a naturally occurring compound called Tetrahydrocannabinal. THC stimulates and interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These produce that “high” feeling. Now, that said, THC is just one of 70 cannabinoids that are found in the plants and it is certainly not the only thing that impacts your high. In fact, most marijuana contains between 15 and 25% THC which is a minor amount, all things considered. As such, the most powerful influencer of your high—what it feels like, where you feel it in the body or the mind, and what benefits you get—is terpene, not THC. Now, both are essential oils secreted by the trichomes in the plant, and both originate from geranyl pyrophosphate, but the terpene is what you should focus on when selecting your buds.
Each strain, as mentioned, has a different amount of THC and it also has a different amount and type of terpene. You have probably smelled different variants and noticed they have distinct scents to them. Those scents are the product of terpene. Terpene is an aromatic compound found all over nature. It is responsible for the aromas and oils produces in black pepper, lavender, rosemary, basil, coriander, hops, cloves, pine trees, and much more. Not only do you reap medicinal benefits from the foods you eat as a direct result of the healing properties embedded in these naturally occurring terpenes, but essential oils and plant extracts contain them too, and the terpenes form the basis of their effectiveness. Basically, terpene is the chemical that makes each strain unique and it is because of terpenes that different strains of cannabis cause different highs.
Different Strains and Different Highs
The different terpene profiles will produce different highs. Some strains combine multiple terpenes. Below are some of the most common profiles:
This is the most popular terpene in most marijuana and is responsible for giving off the quintessential musky smell everyone knows as the smell of weed. This is the most sedative of the terpenes, so when you think of the classic image of a stoner sitting on their couch, staring blankly at cartoons, it is because of myrcene. This terpene has a musky scent, with hints of citrus and cloves. It is responsible for relaxation, sedation, and enhancing the psychoactivity of THC. It is known for its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It occurs naturally in other things like lemongrass, bay leaves, thyme, and mangoes. You will find it in strains such as Green Crack, Alien OG, Granddaddy Purple, Northern Lights, and Blue Dream.
Linalool is a terpene with a strong floral, lavender scent. It is integrated into many topical treatments for acne and skin conditions. It is another sedating and calming terpene that helps with anxiety, convulsions, pain, depression, stress, or insomnia. You can find it naturally in lavender, birch, rosewood, laurel, and citrus. The popular strains with this in it include Skywalker OG, Ingrid, Lavender, Pink Kush, and Headband.
Limonene has a citrus scent, strong like lemons and oranges. It has been used as anti-seizer therapy, to dissolve gallstones, kill microbial bacterial, and relieve things like acid reflux or heart burn. It occurs naturally in citrus rinds, peppermint, and juniper. With cannabis it is great for stress relief and elevated mood as well. You can find it in OG Kush, Bubba Kush, Trainwreck, Super Lemon Haze, and Sour Diesel strains.
Alpha and Beta Pinene
This has a strong pine scent and is the most common plant terpene the world over. It has been used heavily to treat inflammation and asthma, and shows promise improving memory and promoting higher energy levels. It is found naturally in pine needles, sage, and conifers. You can find it in strains such as Romulan, Dutch Treat, Jack Herer, Chemdawg, and Blue Dream.
Beta-Caryophyllene has a rich woody, spice to it, similar to the scent of black pepper. It occurs naturally in things like oregano, basil, cloves, pepper, and hops. It is used to treat insomnia, assist with pain management or muscle spasms, and regarded for its antioxidants and its anti-inflammatory properties. This particular terpene is used often to treat diseases like colitis or Alzheimer’s because of its ability to bind to CB2 receptors. You can find it in strains like OG Kush, White Widow, and Girl Scout Cookies.
Whatever the strain you choose, for legal markets, 10 milligrams is a standard “dose” which gives you mild effects. So, dose responsibly and patiently throughout the day.
If you are dealing with unregulated markets that lack any testing, the labels you read might be incorrect. So if you are in a place where the industry is not properly regulated, just proceed with caution knowing that the labels may be inaccurate. In states where it is regulated, there could still be discrepancies, just not to the same degree, so be patient.